The Virtus.pro line up is one of the longest lasting line ups in the history of Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas, Filip “NEO” Kubski, Jaroslaw “pashabiceps” Jarzabkowski, Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski and Pawel “byali” Bielinski have been together since 2013, playing under ESC Gaming, Universial Soldiers and AGAiN before being signed by Virtus.pro. Prior to their time in CS:GO, the core of TaZ, NEO and pasha were apart of a team dubbed “The Golden Five”.

The Golden Five were a close knit group of Polish Counter Strike players that dominated the scene from 2006 – 2008. Pentagram G-Shock were a new team in 2005. TaZ, NEO and LUq were able to win the SEC. Loord and kuben joined the roster in 2006 to form what was known as the “Golden Five”. In their first year, the team captured the WSVG.uk and the WCG titles, which cemented their reputation in the 1.6 scene. Pentagram were signed by MYM in 2008, and then went onto play under several team names such as Wicked eSports, Vitriolic, Frag eXecutors and ESC Gaming.

The Golden Five ceased to exist in 2013, after a slump. Pasha, NEO and TaZ left to unite with byali and Snax at Universal Soldiers, which became AGAiN before finally being signed by Virtus.pro on January 25, 2014.

Over the course of their time together, the Polish side has experienced the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Their highs include capturing EMS One: Katowice 2014, winning Gfinity G3, beating TSM to win the Copenhagen Games in 2015, beating TSM again to win the ESL ESEA Pro League Invitational in Dubai, and multiple top four finishes throughout the course of 2014 and 2015.

The year 2016 was a bit of a rocky year for Virtus.pro. Their year started off with the Polish side finished in the top eight of Dreamhack Leipzig, and then a top six finish at IEM Katowice. The Polish side were able to secure a top four finish at the Counter Pit Finals and secure a legends spot at MLG Columbus, only for them to be sent home by NIP in the quarterfinals of Dreamhack Malmo. They then went on to secure a top four finish at ESL One: Cologne 2016 after falling short to defending major champions SK Gaming.

Under a month later, Virtus.pro beat NIP in the quarterfinals of ELEAGUE, and then mousesports in a similar style to set up a match against Fnatic in the finals of ELEAGUE Season One. Virtus.pro were able to replicate the results of their quarter and semifinal match ups, and beat Fnatic 16-8 on Dust II and 16-9 on Cobblestone to become the inaugural ELEAGUE Champions. They then went on to beat Cloud9 in the finals of Dreamhack Bucharest, place second at ESL One: New York, finish second at EPICENTER and then finish in the top eight of ELEAGUE Season Two to close out their calendar year.

It is safe to say that Virtus.pro’s form throughout 2016 was very inconsistent, yet they still managed to grab some impressive accolades.

Virtus.pro kicked off their 2017 with a third place finish at the WESG 2016: Finals, losing out to Space Soldiers 2:0. They then surprised many, and reached the finals of the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta. The Polish side closed out their group stage campaign with a perfect run. They beat North in the quarterfinals in an exciting BO3 contest that ended 2-1 to set up a match against SK Gaming, who knocked them out of ESL One: Cologne 2016 at the same stage. SK were playing with a stand in, fox, but ultimately were able to put up a good fight, as Virtus.pro took the best of three 2-0 in two very closely contended maps. This victory set the Polish side up with a match against Astralis in the finals. Virtus.pro had secured Nuke 16-12, and it looked like the following maps, Overpass and Train, were both Virtus.pro’s maps to take, however, Astralis were able to turn things in their favour and claim both maps 16-14 to claim the ELEAGUE Major.

This was a sign of good things to come, for a brief period of time, as Virtus.pro were able to become champions of Dreamhack Vegas after beating SK Gaming in the finals of the tournament. Unfortunately, their form dipped shortly after their triumph in Las Vegas. They were eliminated in the group stages of IEM Katowice, finished twelfth at the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season Three finals and then were one of the first teams to be eliminated at ESL One: Cologne 2017.

The PGL Major in Krakow was just around the corner, and it had looked like Virtus.pro were out for the count, considering their form prior to the tournament. The Polish side were able to qualify from the Swiss group stage with a 3-2 record, beating the likes of Vega Squadron, Fnatic and Cloud9. They recorded losses to Gambit and North. Virtus.pro knocked out North in the quarterfinals after beating them 16-9 on Cobblestone and 16-10 on Nuke. Immortals stood in the way of VP’s quest to claim a major title on home soil, and, their road ended with the Brazilian side, as they lost 16-5 on Inferno and 16-11 on Mirage to finish in the top four of the major.

For a very, very short while, the plow had seemingly found their fuel once again, and were seemingly on the move once again. However, as mentioned previously, this run of form was short, as they crashed out of Dreamhack Malmo, crashing out in the group stage. To the surprise of many, Virtus.pro were able to qualify from their ESG Mykonos Tour group quite convincingly, grabbing a solid win over EnVyUs on Train and seeing off Liquid on Mirage. VP secured fourth place after losing to mousesports in their playoffs match 2-1, and losing to SK Gaming in the third place playoff match.

Virtus.pro crashed out in the group stages of ESL One: New York and replicated the same result at the ELEAGUE Premier 2017. The Polish side were able to close out their 2017 with a decent run of form, placing second at EPICENTER. They also placed second at the StarLadder i-League Invitational, losing to Renegades in the grand final, however, considering their inconsistent form in the lead up to the tournament, their placement can be considered a good result.

VP had looked to start off their 2018 on the right foot, starting at the ELEAGUE Boston Major. The Polish side were legends, which meant that they did not need to participate in the first stage. In the “New Legends” stage, the Polish plow was brought to a dramatic halt, losing to unknown newcomers Quantum Bellator Fire 16-3 on Cache, losing to Fnatic 16-6 on Inferno and getting eliminated by Cloud9 16-7 on Mirage.

The players in Virtus.pro have been playing Counter Strike for a significant amount of time. These players have seen the development of Counter Strike over the years, from the older versions of the game to the game that it is now, and, from an esports perspective, these players played at a time when prize money was a subject that was not even considered, and, as prize money was introduced into the high level competitive scene, these players kept playing, and, continue to play today. Over the course of their playing career under Virtus.pro, the Polish side were given the nickname “Virtus.plow” by spectators, commentators and analysts alike, largely due to their explosive play style in the server. The term has also been used to describe Virtus.pro’s stop/start form. The Polish side would slump, only to come back to life and sweep aside their opponents shortly after their seemingly regular slump. However, this trend has been broken recently and the side has been continually slumping.

Another respectable, and simultaneously stubborn trait of the Virtus.pro team is their unwillingness to change their roster, and their ability to work things through with their roster and change up the roles to see which changes are optimal for the team going forward. The loyalty within the Virtus.pro five is remarkable.

Whilst this recipe of change has worked on occasion, the effectiveness has gradually worn off to the point where internal change is essentially irrelevant due to it being the same five players.

Virtus.pro’s longevity in the game, as well as the impressive set of accolades they have collected throughout their individual and collective careers marks them as legends of the game, and have cemented their legacy as one of the best . Their ability to play at the top level for as long as they have is an achievement in itself, and their ability to bounce back from almost any adversity thrown at them is also remarkable.

The Virtus.pro story is filled with incredible highs and disappointing lows. Metaphorically speaking, it is as if the plow gets stuck and then gets moving again, only for it to get stuck again. At the moment, the plow is stuck and is looking worse for wear. It will be incredibly interesting to see how this legendary side handles this new low in form, and whether or not they will be able to bounce back once again and maintain some consistency in form, which is something they have not seen in quite a while.

 

 

About The Author

Jonah
Esports Manager

My first video game was Tonka Construction for the PC. I played that in 2000, at 3 years of age, and have been hooked by video games ever since. I like to dabble in as many games as I possibly can, but nothing can come close to a captivating story, an intense multiplayer experience or a well made RTS game. In 2015, I found what can only be described as passion and love for esports. Now I convey that passion, love and knowledge through articles about esports titles, most notably Counter Strike.